U.S. Army/Sgt. Marcus Fichtl

Welcome to Confessions Of, a weekly series where Task & Purpose’s James Clark solicits hilarious, embarrassing, and revealing stories from troops and vets about their job, deployments, and time in service.

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The Predator

A new trailer for the upcoming installment in America’s favorite human-flaying Predator franchise just dropped, and considering this R-rated action flick starring a big ugly space hunter doesn’t hit the screens until Sept. 14, it felt premature to “review” anything.

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T&P photo by David Gutierrez

On a muggy Tuesday afternoon in August, Staff Sgt. Justin Mclnald, a U.S. Army soldier with the Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Battalion, was piloting a government-issued Dodge minivan through northeast New Jersey, giving me a tour of his sector, when a man suddenly appeared in the road. He was tall and sinewy, wearing a bright red do-rag, and he had a pistol tucked into his waistband. Or at least that’s what I discerned through the fabric of his dirty white tank top. It could’ve been a water gun, or a banana. Whatever it was, he was clutching it with one hand while motioning for us to stop with the other.

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Task & Purpose photo

It had only been a few weeks, maybe a month, since Jose Camacho had been relieved of his prison shackles and stepped off a U.S. immigration bus into the dusty streets of Ciudad Juárez to set about building a new life south of the border. That’s when an old friend showed up. Not a friend, really — someone he knew. A guy he’d met on the inside. “Let’s get a beer,” he suggested. Camacho didn’t drink anymore, and he told the guy so. But the guy was persistent. Squinting over the guy’s shoulder, Camacho could see someone else in the car, a man he didn’t know, but he recognized the tattoos. This wasn't an invitation.

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Original photo: DoD

On Jan. 20, the day he swore into office and assumed the role of commander-in-chief, President Donald Trump vowed to rebuild America’s “depleted” armed forces. Now, the military is holding the new president to his word. Last week, Pentagon officials delivered to Congress a plan for increasing the defense budget by more than $30 billion to acquire new jets, armored, vehicles, improved training, and more, according to the Associated Press.

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For Task & Purpose, senior staff Adam Linehan and reporter Jennifer-Leigh Oprihory both spent Inauguration Day in Washington, D.C., capturing the mood on the ground during this historic transition of power. Adam spent the day with veterans groups that were marching in the inaugural parade, while Jenn covered the protests and violence that broke out between crowds and police downtown. Their accounts on Twitter as a timeline paint two very different pictures of America’s response to the presidency of Donald Trump all of which took place within a couple blocks of each other.

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